Saturday, November 12, 2011

Little tiny owl spotted on CFN website (and it's spotting you too)

You know those mini-icons that appear in your web browser's tabs and Favourites bookmarks?  For example, there should be an orange-background "B" (for Blogger) mini-logo on your tab for this website.  These are called favicons (because they appear in your Favourites list).  They are not really essential for anything, but they look kinda purdy and give an extra opportunity to brand your website.

I figured out how to make a favicon for the CFN site.  I did this after my Mozilla Firefox browser updated to the latest version this week, and now any website without a favicon has a blank dotted box where the favicon should be.  The blank box reminds me of when I circle a missing answer on students' tests; it draws attention to the absence of a contribution.  So I did some Googling to figure out what these logos are called, how I can make one, and how to add one to my site.  Favicons are only 16 pixels x 16 pixels in dimension.  That's pretty small!  You can't be very elaborate with 16x16 dots.

I started by making the letters "CFN" in 16x16 dimension.  It looked budget.  My son could've done a better job, and he eats crayons.  So I found a site where you can upload images and convert them into 16x16 favicons.  Obviously you can't expect Mona Lisas on such a small canvas, but I was pleasantly surprised at the detail it could achieve.  So I decided to make a favicon for the OFNC's owl logo.  Now when you go to the CFN site the owl head will be staring out at you from your web browser's tab.  Watching you like a haw... like an owl.  I don't think people would peg it as an owl if they looked at it in isolation, but considering the large version of the image appears at the top of all CFN web pages I hope people will make the link.  Or at least I hope they won't misconstrue the favicon as something crude and boycott our journal.

If you're interested favicons for your site, here are the resources I used.
http://www.favicon.cc/ - favicon creator.
http://pkp.sfu.ca/support/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=7663 - forum discussion with instructions on how to add a favicon to journal websites using Open Journal Systems software (which CFN uses).
http://www.scientificillustrator.com/illustration/favicons.html - has some nice nature-related favicons for free, as long as you give credit to their website.  I didn't use any, but I was tempted to.

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